Why do Google search results skew so heavily against John Kerry?
This column appeared in the Online Journalism Review.
Summary: Google News uses computer algorithms to identify top stories while Yahoo News favors old-fashioned human editors. But do Google’s automated search results display a conservative bias?In newspaper newsrooms, editors often go to great lengths to achieve a semblance of balance in coverage of the two major candidates for president. Some count the story inches devoted to both men. Others make sure that photo size and placement don’t favor one over the other. Journalistic fairness demands equal treatment.
But what are the rules for online search engines, where millions of users are turning for their daily news fix? Does evenhanded coverage apply in the bottomless news hole of cyberspace? Does having an editorial team or an automated program get you a better sweep of important news about the political candidates?